Memorial service next Saturday for Frank Novito, ‘larger-than-life’ lifelong West Seattleite

March 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

Shared by his family, here’s the “larger than life” life story of Frank Novito, whose memorial service is planned for next Saturday at Holy Rosary Church:

Frank Novito, a lifelong resident of West Seattle, died peacefully at Providence Mt. St. Vincent on March 7, 2014.

Frank was born to Joseph and Mary Novito, who had immigrated from Italy, and true to the American Dream, owned several successful dry-cleaning businesses in the West Seattle and Morgan Street Junctions. Frank attended Lafayette, James Madison, and West Seattle High School.

While still a student, Frank would ride his bike down to Alki to work at Lloyd’s Boathouse before school every morning, and then back up Fairmount Avenue to WSHS for his classes. He quickly became known among Lloyd’s customers for his fishing prowess out in Elliott Bay, and became a favorite of those who wanted to know where the “prime” fishing spots were. He had many stories to tell of near-misses with ferries in the dense fog.

After high school, Frank went to work as a riveter at Boeing, and just like in the movies, he met his bride-to-be, Helen Gembolis, who was his “bucker.” They married in 1944 and had three children, Wanda, Gail and Ralph, all who attended Holy Rosary School. He served in the Army until the war ended, when “Old Mr. Fiedler” took a shine to Frank and offered him a sales job at Gene Fiedler Chevrolet, where Frank sold cars for over 40 years, often ranking as the top salesman in the entire Pacific Northwest. Frank had enduring friendships with many return customers.

Click to read the rest of Memorial service next Saturday for Frank Novito, ‘larger-than-life’ lifelong West Seattleite…

Memorial set March 15th for Robert ‘Bob’ McCoy, 1933-2014

March 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

From the family of Robert “Bob” McCoy, who died this week at age 81:

Robert “Bob” McCoy passed away March 3, 2014, with his family by his side.

Bob was a resident of West Seattle for 50-plus years. He started his career at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in 1964 and retired in 1998. He was a member of the White Center Eagles.

Bob was born February 2, 1933, in Seattle, to Harold and Jessie McCoy. He was raised in Kent and attended Kent Meridian High School. He is survived by his wife Ilene of 60 years, daughter Debra and her husband Joe Ruskamp, daughter Linda and her husband Michael McGee, daughter Barbara, son John, and daughter Pam and her husband Cary Hood, 10 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and his brother Jack McCoy of Vancouver, Washington. He was preceded in death by his sister Helen and his brother Phillip.

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 15th, 1:00 pm at Yarington’s/White Center Funeral Home, 10708 16th Ave SW. Reception follows, 2:30-4:30 pm at the White Center Eagles, 10452 15th Ave SW.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Remembering Joan Mraz, 1935-2014: Southwest Seattle Historical Society co-founder

February 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Joan Mraz “was the ultimate volunteer,” recalls Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which he says she co-founded as “the catalyst who crucially transformed founder Elliott Couden’s dream into a reality when we got our start 30 years ago, based at South Seattle Community College (13 years before we opened the Log House Museum).” Ms. Mraz died this week at 78, and a memorial gathering is planned March 9th. Here’s a remembrance shared by her family:

Joan Bailey Mraz, beloved mother, grandmother, sister and lifelong West Seattle resident, passed away peacefully on Feb. 24, 2014, at Providence Mount St. Vincent. She was the firstborn twin of Ruth and Glen Bailey on July 29, 1935.

She was senior-class president and graduated in the class of 1953 from West Seattle High School. Joan won an art scholarship to Seattle University, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts. She went on to teach art and art history at South Seattle Community College and was co-founder and former president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Joan was a fighter. She received a kidney transplant in 1989, which lasted the rest of her life.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband Elemer Mraz in 1996 and son Steven Roger Mraz in 2008. She is survived by her twin sister Diane Tice of Seattle, daughter Kristina (Graham) van Etten of Sydney, Australia, son Oscar (Nicole Devine) Mraz of Seattle and Mark (Bridget) Mraz of Edmonds. Joan was a proud grandmother to Lauren, Jordan and Nathan van Etten of Sydney, Australia, Marguerite Devine-Mraz of Seattle and Lukas and Kellen Mraz of Edmonds. She will always be remembered for her smile, caring attitude, love and deep affection for others.

The family asks that remembrances may be made to Northwest Kidney Centers (PO Box 3035, Seattle, WA 98114) or Southwest Seattle Historical Society (Log House Museum, 3003 61st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116).

A celebration of Joan’s life will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, at St Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church, 11620 21st Ave S.W., Seattle, WA, 98146. Please sign Joan’s online guestbook at

The SWSHS website will have an extended obituary of Ms. Mraz sometime this weekend, and we’ll link to it here when it’s available. Meantime, anyone wishing to honor her through volunteer work with the SWSHS has an opportunity to do so almost immediately – the next volunteer-orientation session is 11 am-1 pm tomorrow (Saturday) at the LHM (61st/Stevens).

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: The aforementioned SWSHS appreciation of Ms. Mraz is now published – see it here.

Update: Missing West Seattle man found, safe

February 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

9:27 PM UPDATE: Frank has been found safe, reports his family – see this comment.

Original story after jump: Click to read the rest of Update: Missing West Seattle man found, safe…

Remembering Ware Lantz, 1917-2014: Story of ‘a life well-lived’

February 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

A memorial service is planned in April for Richard Ware Lantz of Fauntleroy, gone after what his family describes as “a full life,” and you’ll likely agree after reading the remembrance they’re sharing:

Ware Lantz, 97, died at home in his sleep on February 16, 2014, following a short illness. He lived up to his teenage nickname “Gadget,” for he was forever inventing, dissecting, conducting studies, diagramming, exploring new technologies, going wherever his curiosity took him. He was a consummate storyteller, and loved to read.

Ware was born in 1917, in Kearney, Nebraska. His earliest years were on a dry wheat farm in eastern Colorado. At the beginning of the Dust Bowl, his family moved to Hoquiam, Washington, where he grew up working in his father’s auto service/repair business. He put himself through college during the Depression, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1940.

Early in the Second World War, he went to work at the Seattle Pacific Shipyard. He was immediately smitten with his new draftsman (appropriate term at the time), Ruth Immel, and they married eight months later.

They moved to Boston when Ware took a position at the Radiation Lab at MIT, working on development of radar defense systems. After the war, they relocated to California for work with North American Aviation, and in 1949 they moved to Seattle, where he worked for Boeing. While at Boeing, Ware was a supervisor on the Bomarc and Minuteman missile systems. After 30 years, he retired and began a second career, building architectural models, and picture framing.

Click to read the rest of Remembering Ware Lantz, 1917-2014: Story of ‘a life well-lived’…

Video: TV showcase for West Seattle’s ‘dueling’ Little Free Libraries

February 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

One month ago, we published the saga of two Little Free Libraries turning up almost simultaneously on Rutan Place SW. Tonight, West Seattleite Jim Dever told their tale on Evening Magazine – it’s the first story on the show, embedded above if you missed it on TV. Thanks to Kerry, who e-mailed to mention it, pronouncing the story “pretty cute.”

West Seattle businesses: Longtime local attorney Sharon Best retiring, inviting you to the party

February 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

After a quarter-century, West Seattle attorney Sharon Best is retiring – sort of – but part of her practice will carry on. Here’s her message:

I would like to give a sincere and resounding Thank YOU to all of my clients, and clients who have become dear friends, for their growing and continuing support of my law practice over the years. Many people know that I retired to West Seattle in 1988 after serving 20 years in the Army. I set up my little law practice here in 1989, focusing on real estate and estate planning, despite being assured by other lawyers that I couldn’t make it without including family law or personal injury law.

25 years later, I’m here and they are not. Well, I need to stop practicing at this point so I can provide a needed presence to my partner of 30 years who is suffering from a disease diagnosed as Primary Progressive Aphasia. I want to be here with her as long as she can be here with me, and this means stopping my practice of law. While I may still do an occasional legal thing for friend or family, and I will be here to answer any background questions that the inheritors of my practice may have, I need to focus on my personal responsibilities at this time.

In the meantime, I wish everyone well, all my great clients, all of the real estate agents who have given us their trust to handle escrow transactions of all sorts, Heather de Vrieze, Elizabeth Carney, Kailei Feeney (the lawyers in deVrieze|Carney who still practice great law) and Cindy Benedict and Joline Fullwiler, my wonderful escrow staff, who have just been approved to handle escrow transactions as Best Escrow, LLC:

Best Escrow LLC is throwing me a retirement party and combining it with an Open House to celebrate their new status on Friday, March 7, 2014, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at THE WHITE HOUSE, 3909 California Ave SW. I hope my clients and friends will stop by to see me off and welcome the new kids on the block.

West Seattle generosity: Three food-drive successes!

February 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Three more examples of West Seattle generosity – all to help fight hunger:

’100TH DAY OF SCHOOL’ DRIVE: The photo is from Lynne Crockett at Holy Rosary, who says the kindergarteners participated in a “100th Day of School” food drive and will be donating the cans they collected to the White Center Food Bank.

On to a big gift from Arbor Heights Elementary:

‘BACKPACK’ PROGRAM GETS BOOST: In the photo are Arbor Heights counselor Rosslyn Shea and West Seattle Food Bank operations director Steven Curry. WS Food Bank’s Judi Yazzolino explains:

During Random Acts of Kindness Week, which was February 10th – 14th, the staff and families of Arbor Heights Elementary participated in a week-long food drive that brought in 350 pounds, to support the West Seattle Food Bank’s new “Backpack” Program. Our “Backpack” program, in its infancy, assists school-age children who are at risk of being hungry throughout the weekend by assembling grocery bags of kid-friendly healthy and nutritious food and distributing them through their school, one of which is Arbor Heights Elementary.

The West Seattle Food Bank wants to thank Rosslyn Shea at Arbor Heights for organizing this wonderful food drive and to remind any family participating in (food drives) at their school to check in with their organizer and get our wishlist to support the “Backpack” program.

Judi also shares news of WS Food Bank gratitude for a local business:

That photo is from Straight Blast Gym (5050 Delridge Way SW), whose proprietors Jei and Sonia and their members get WS Food Bank props for “an amazing food drive that brought in more than 1,500 pounds of food to help those in need in our West Seattle community.”

You can help local food banks any time, not just during special drives – WS Food Bank donation information is here; WC Food Bank donation information is here.

Followup: Memorial service March 1st for alpinist Chad Kellogg

February 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

One week after news started circulating about the death of 42-year-old Chad Kellogg, the well-known alpinist and former West Seattleite hit by a falling rock while climbing in Argentina, memorial plans have been announced: 11 am next Saturday (March 1st) at the First Free Methodist Church on Queen Anne (3200 3rd Ave. W.), followed by a 1-5 pm reception at the Seattle Bouldering Project in the Central District (900 Poplar Place S.). Updates are promised on this page of a memorial website set up at; its moderators also invite those who knew Mr. Kellogg to send their photos and stories, and have already published more than a dozen, including some with breathtaking photos like these.

Video: West Seattle boys sing at ‘exploding oil trains’ rally

February 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments

Adonis and Aji from RainDagger Productions on Vimeo.

That’s video of brothers Adonis and Aji Piper, 9- and 13-year-old Pathfinder K-8 students, singing and playing a protest song they composed. They spent the final weekday of the week-long midwinter school break by participating in a demonstration and Seattle City Council committee meeting regarding a resolution urging increased scrutiny for a proposal to send more oil-carrying trains through the city. (Read about the resolution here.) Environmental advocates say the scrutiny is vital because trains are carrying more-volatile types of oil now, with literally explosive risks, as evidenced in several recent incidents around the continent. Joel Connelly wrote about the brothers in his coverage on; today we received a note from the boys’ family, with a link to the video you see above.

Memorial planned March 8th for Betty Lou Benson, 1923-2014

February 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

A memorial service is planned on March 8th for Betty Lou Benson, whose family shares this remembrance:

Betty Lou Benson died peacefully at age 90 on February 12, 2014 after a short illness. She was born August 20, 1923 in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from the University of Denver (DU) in Education. She moved to Tacoma in 1949 to teach elementary school and met her husband, Norman, in The Mountaineers. He had also moved from Starbuck, Minnesota to Seattle to work for Boeing.

They married in 1951 and enjoyed skiing, hiking, and folk dancing together. They made their home in West Seattle for over 50 years where she was a homemaker involved in her church, school PTA, Camp Fire, and Boy Scouts. Early on, they purchased a cabin on Vashon Island, which is still enjoyed by the family today. Betty was a door-to-door Avon Lady in her Admiral district neighborhood and worked part time at the Louise North dress shop in the West Seattle Junction. Later she was active in the West Seattle Garden Club, Federated Women’s Club, and her Kappa Delta Sorority Alumnae group. She was always generous with her time and talents.

She also collected countless donations for the Salvation Army Hickman House for victims of domestic violence and was named their Volunteer of the Decade in 1998. After her husband Norman passed away in 2002, she lived 11 years at the Kenney Home, a very special community of friends where she received kind, compassionate care. She was a wonderful mother with a positive, gracious spirit. She always enjoyed people and was a dear friend to many. She loved the ocean, beach walks, and especially trips to Hawaii. She leaves behind her children Janet (Mark) Thomasseau and Gary (Jane) Benson and grandchildren Allison Thomasseau and Matthew Benson.

Remembrances may be made to West Side Presbyterian Church – Youth Special Event Scholarships – or Salvation Army Hickman House at 1101 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday, March 8, 2014 at West Side Presbyterian Church, 3601 California Ave. SW. Share your memories at

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Congrats! Seattle Lutheran HS senior scholar-athletes to be honored

February 20, 2014 at 10:52 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

Congratulations to Seattle Lutheran High School seniors Grant Doerr (above with parents Julia and Cary Doerr) and Jacob Fincher (below with parents Julia and Joe Fincher).

The announcement from SLHS:

Both students were nominated for The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award given to student athletes who exhibit academic, leadership and football talent. Schools in King County may nominate a senior lineman and a senior back/receiver for these awards; four finalists are selected for each. Doerr was selected as a finalist in the Back/Receiver category.

Doerr and Fincher will be honored Sunday (February 23) at CenturyLink Field in the West Club Lounge at 10 am.

Read more about the award program, and past recipients, here.

Memorial Saturday for Charles David Pierce, 1960-2014

February 19, 2014 at 5:04 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 23 Comments

A memorial service is planned this Saturday for Charles David Pierce, who died last week at age 54. Here’s the remembrance his loved ones are sharing:

Charles David Pierce died Tuesday, February 11, 2014. David resided at Providence Mount St. Vincent for the last thirteen years and died peacefully in his sleep.

For the last 36 years David has lived as a quadriplegic, as a result of a car accident at the age of 17. David graduated from Chief Sealth High School in 1980. David will be remembered for his strength of character, his sense of humor. and kind heart. David will be missed by all who knew him and cared for him.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 22, 2014, 9:30-12:00, at Providence Mount Saint Vincent Chapel, 3rd floor, 4831 35th Ave. SW.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Followup: Almost a half-ton of West Seattle donations for City of Joy

February 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

First the call for help … then the dropoffs on a blustery Saturday … and now the tally: Mary Ellen Cunningham says the donations for City of Joy added up to about 800 pounds worth:

How’s that for West Seattle generosity! Fantastic. A bunch of us were elated going through everything … getting it all organized and packed up ready for the trip to Congo.

The center, which helps survivors of sexual violence in the DRC, accepts online donations too.

Former West Seattleite Chad Kellogg killed in Patagonia rockfall

February 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Famed climber and former West Seattle resident Chad Kellogg, 42, has died in Argentina after a rockfall in Patagonia. A WSB reader wrote to share the sad news as early reports surfaced such as this one at; tonight the news also has appeared at (WSB partner) and Mr. Kellogg lived in West Seattle seven years ago when a climbing mishap killed his 38-year-old wife Lara-Karena Kellogg (mentioned briefly on WSB in April 2007), whose family are longtime West Seattleites. The person who e-mailed us says Mr. Kellogg “should be recognized and remembered as a great man who accomplished incredible things, most notably — speed ascents, summiting peaks, defeating cancer, to name a few.” The Times story details many of those accomplishments; the Climbing report notes that “in recent years he had accomplished many superb ascents.” No word yet of memorial plans.

Happening now: City of Joy donation-drive dropoff

February 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Don’t let the rain stop you – it’s not stopping Mary Ellen and Lucas (and Libby, who was off on an errand when we stopped by) from collecting essential items for women at the City of Joy, until 2 pm today on the south side of the parking lot at 44th/Alaska (best known as the Farmers’ Market lot). Here again is our preview explaining what this is all about; here again is the list of what’s needed:

* The preference is for new items (definitely make-up, toiletries and skin care products.) Gently used items are also greatly appreciated.

Solar-powered flashlights
Solar-powered radios
Reading glasses

Garden/work gloves
Garden trowels
Small garden shovels
Sewing supplies – thread, buttons, needles, scissors, embroidery thread
Muslin fabric

Women’s Clothing
Skirts, tops, & light pants (all sizes) NOTE: It is hot & humid in Congo. We need clothes in bright colors and light fabrics. NOT Seattle clothes! ☺
Durable flip-flops
Sneakers (size 7-10)
Socks (bright colors to fit shoe size 7-10)
Underwear & bras (all sizes)

Toiletries & Personal Care
Towels – bath, hand and wash cloths (bright colors)
Moisturizing lotion

Anything you can spare, one item or dozens, will help fill the truck!

Random act of Valentine-ness: What a child gave to strangers

February 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

Thanks to Tracey for sharing the heartwarming photo and report:

While my husband and I (and four others) were waiting for Circa to open its doors tonight, a young boy walked by with his mom and started handing out these valentines. It was such a sweet gesture and nice surprise! We don’t know his name, but wanted everyone in West Seattle to know how thoughtful he is and that his random act of kindness was appreciated. Oh, and our dinner was DELICIOUS! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Time for a tough talk with your parent(s)? Get help tomorrow

February 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm | In The Kenney, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

While it’s a joy to still have parent(s) around even as you approach elderhood … it can be a challenge to have tough conversations with them about changes that might be needed as the years go by. Tomorrow (Thursday) night at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), you can get some help as you prepare for those conversations with parents and/or grandparents – is it time to give up the car? Is the house getting to be “too much”? Is their health deteriorating and help needed for day-to-day life? A free seminar on “Having the Conversation” is planned for 6 pm tomorrow at The Kenney, with Moraine Byrne, who has 20+ years of experience “guiding and counseling families on how to have a meaningful and respectful conversation with aging parents,” as the official event announcement describes it. No charge, but an RSVP is appreciated – call 206-937-2800, or RSVP online here. Walk-ins will be welcome tomorrow, too, but they’d love advance notice if you’re planning to go. The Kenney is at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW (map).

West Seattle doctor’s sudden spotlight for something she did as a little girl

February 11, 2014 at 11:43 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

West Seattle naturopath Dr. Rachel Giordano is suddenly in the national spotlight because of a photograph from her childhood modeling days. Dr. Giordano, proprietor of Seattle Weight Loss and Wellness (WSB sponsor), posed in a 1981 ad for Legos, showcased again recently as an example of non-sexist toy marketing, compared to the current, well, pinkitude of girls’ toys, including Legos. Writer Lori Day learned from a friend that Dr. Giordano was the girl in the ad – which has been making the rounds for at least two years – and tracked her down for an interview, published today by Dr. Giordano is quoted as telling Day, “I did so many advertisements as a kid that this LEGO ad did not stand out in my memory … (but) I’m super excited to tell my story!” (Follow the WYSK story link to see the ads – as fervent copyright-law observers, we’re not republishing them until we’re sure it’s OK to do so. Thanks to Marco for the tip on this!)

Remembering Robert Wilden Love, Sr., 1924-2014

February 11, 2014 at 6:17 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

Family and friends gathered Friday to remember Bob Love. Here’s a look back at his life:

Robert (Bob) W. Love Sr., 89, of Seattle, passed away January 27th, peacefully in his sleep.

Those who knew Bob Love will fondly remember him as a very caring man with a “larger-than-life smile.” He had a great wit and constant sense of humor. He brought laughter wherever he went. As father and grandfather, he always had encouraging words for his family. If life got someone down, he was there with encouraging words and a smile. Out of a generous heart, he went out of his way to help people get through things.

Bob was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of 3 sons, born to Clarence William Love and Cora Erickson. He and his older brothers, Bill Love, and Lou Love, lived in Utah until approximately 1936 when the Loves moved to Seattle. He attended West Seattle High School. Soon after graduating, Bob was offered a spot in a Machinist Trade School program. God had led him to the work he was ‘cut out for,’ and he became passionate about it, and soon advanced into Foreman positions.

Click to read the rest of Remembering Robert Wilden Love, Sr., 1924-2014…

Video: WestSide Baby Tea tallies $255,000 despite snow no-shows

February 10, 2014 at 1:34 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Small things affect big things.”

Cited repeatedly by the guest speaker for Sunday’s WestSide Baby Tea, it underscored the group’s mission, supported by donations totaling, in the preliminary count, more than (updated) $255,000 – above last year’s tally despite 100 cancellations following a night-long snowfall.

“It’s kind of serious, why we are here – but it’s OK to have a party while we do it,” said emcee Ian Lindsay.

The guest speaker was Joanne Goldblum, executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network, of which WS Baby is a member, and its own executive director Nancy Woodland a founding board member.

Diapers are at the heart of WS Baby’s work – getting them to families who cannot afford them, which, as WS Baby board vice-chair Chip Hellar reminded the crowd, leaves babies hurting.

But it’s grown to encompass much more.

Click to read the rest of Video: WestSide Baby Tea tallies $255,000 despite snow no-shows…

City of Joy: Help West Seattleites reach out to women on the other side of the globe

February 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

One week from today, you have the chance to join West Seattle sisters Mary Ellen Cunningham and Libby Cunningham in a drive to assist a project described as part of an “unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate women’s leadership in the context of conflict and disaster zones” – the City of Joy, helping Congolese women and girls heal from unspeakable violence. Next Saturday, February 15th, in the Junction parking lot at 44th/Alaska, they’re hoping you will help fill their U-Haul truck with essential items. But first, their detailed explanation (if you can’t see the window below, here’s the PDF version):

And here’s the list of what they are asking you to donate:

* The preference is for new items (definitely make-up, toiletries and skin care products.) Gently used items are also greatly appreciated.

Solar-powered flashlights
Solar-powered radios
Reading glasses

Garden/work gloves
Garden trowels
Small garden shovels
Sewing supplies – thread, buttons, needles, scissors, embroidery thread
Muslin fabric

Women’s Clothing
Skirts, tops, & light pants (all sizes) NOTE: It is hot & humid in Congo. We need clothes in bright colors and light fabrics. NOT Seattle clothes! ☺
Durable flip-flops
Sneakers (size 7-10)
Socks (bright colors to fit shoe size 7-10)
Underwear & bras (all sizes)

Toiletries & Personal Care
Towels – bath, hand and wash cloths (bright colors)
Moisturizing lotion

Again, the collection event is next Saturday (February 15th), 10 am-2 pm, so you have time to gather up items and be ready to drop them off.

Update: Former West Seattleite Amanda Knox ‘frightened and saddened’ by new verdict

January 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 85 Comments

1:22 PM: Though an appeals court overturned the original “guilty” verdict against former West Seattle resident Amanda Knox in 2011, the latest court to take up the case has just changed that back to “guilty.” Knox, now 26, was not required to return to Italy for the trial, though her co-defendant and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito did appear in court, as did relatives of murder victim Meredith Kercher. Now the question is whether and when Italian authorities will seek to have Knox extradited to serve a 28-year prison term. “They’ll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don’t deserve to be in,” she was quoted as telling British newspaper The Guardian in a pre-verdict interview (see video on their site).

2:25 PM: Knox has released a statement that is published in full on another British news site, The Telegraph. In part, she said: “I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. … My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution. This has gotten out of hand.” The Telegraph also reports: “Shortly after the verdict, Knox left her mother’s home with her head covered in a blanket and was driven away in a Lincoln Town Car.”

The $1,000 cat toy: West Seattleite crowdfunding for Cat Fishin’

January 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm | In Pets, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

No, it won’t COST $1,000 … that sum is the crowdfunding target for Westwood resident Dan Tracy‘s campaign to raise money for Seattle production of the “Cat Fishin‘ Toy,” demonstrated in his official Kickstarter pitch video above – featuring jumping cats, of course.

Tracy explains, “It’s similar to feather-on-a-stick dangler toys but way more durable because it’s made with rip stop nylon.” He moved to West Seattle two years ago from Maui, saying this is a more hospitable place for inventors: “I had lived there for 13 years and needed a better location to start up fun projects. Hawaii is great for vacation but it can be difficult for business because the cost of living is so high.” Why $1,000 to produce something this simple-looking? we asked. Tracy’s reply: “$1000 gets us started so we can buy material and start production but we’re hoping to raise more. We’ve already started networking with local pet shops and they’re excited to try Cat Fishin’ Toys.”

Celebration of life this Saturday afternoon for Larry Launceford

January 22, 2014 at 4:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

The family of Larry Launceford is sharing this remembrance with news of his celebration of life this Saturday:

Larry Launceford, 65, a lifetime resident of West Seattle, passed away on December 9, 2013 at his home. He was a graduate of Sealth High School, class of 1966, and Burnley School of Art, class of 1969.

Larry was a passionate, talented graphic artist, leaving behind an accomplished body of work. He was an avid billiards player, and reader. He is survived by his father, Earl, his siblings John and Judy, and his sons, Nicolas and Ian.

Memorial donations may be made to The Larry Launceford Memorial Scholarship at Sealth High School.

Larry’s celebration of life will be held from 1:00-4:00 on January 25th, 2014 at The Eagles Club of White Center.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

West Seattle weekend scene: Turnpike in the Greenbelt

January 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

The past two days in our daily highlights list, we’ve mentioned Tristan‘s Eagle Scout project building a turnpike in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Here’s the crew that pulled it off – ending work before gametime today. Thanks to Suzanne for sharing photos, including the next one, of which she explains, “You can see the mud and standing water – hence the reason for the turnpike.”

We’ll admit we hadn’t heard “turnpike” outside of a vehicle-road context before – in the forest-trail context, as with this project, it’s explained here.

The West Duwamish Greenbelt is the forest stretching along much of West Seattle’s easternmost slope – the largest contiguous forest in Seattle. It’s the site of frequent work parties by the Nature Consortium, too – find out about them here.

Followup: Warren Lawless’s memorial set for next Saturday

January 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

Memorial plans are now set for longtime West Seattle community advocate and entrepreneur E. Warren Lawless, who died last Monday at 95. When we reported on Mr. Lawless’s passing, we promised an update when the memorial details were announced; we have now received them from the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle, which honored him just last year for a half-century of service. The memorial is planned for 2-5 pm next Saturday (January 25th) at the West Seattle Golf Course clubhouse (4470 35th SW), with a program starting at 3 pm. Mr. Lawless’s family invites everyone “to bring their memories and share with all.” You can read more about Mr. Lawless’s storied life, in this remembrance published by the Western University of Health Sciences, for which he served as a board member for more than 30 years. (WSB photo from last month’s Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast)

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